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July in Sweden: where is everyone?

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10:59 CEST+02:00
If you are planning to invade Sweden do it now. The lights might be on 24/7 above the Arctic Circle, but there's no one home. Not really anyway.

You'll find leggy, golden-tanned blonds crowding the streets on the Greek Isles, particularly on the islands of Rhodes and Crete. The Costas del Sol y Brava are also entertaining their Scandinavian guests. While using Swedish as your secret language might work in Switzerland, it won't be as effective anywhere near sunny beaches serving cheap chilled beer. Vi talar svenska is on all the menus.

The ones who are home have packed the Volvo and absconded to a picturesque red cottage trimmed with white, probably within a walk or bike ride to a cool, dark bathing. If they're not basking in the sun or cooling off in a dark lake, they might be plodding about in the woods picking the last of the wild strawberries or blueberries or if they're lucky, the early wild mushrooms.

Stockholm echoes a purring hum rather than a roar and crackle. No one runs for busses and there's no lines—anywhere! Well, except for at the tourist spots.

Don't even think of invading Sweden through the Vasa Museum just after opening. It's not because of hoards patriotic Swedes are at the ready to man the cannons. It's just about hoards; hoards of every nationality imaginable, mostly on shore leave from their cruise ships bobbing in the Stockholm harbor.

Just because they have to, Stockholmsbörsen, the Swedish Stock Exchange, is open for business and trading. Don't worry if you can't reach your stock broker, you're not missing anything. You will never make or lose a fortune day trading on the Swedish exchange in July.

Just because the stock exchange is open for business doesn't guarantee any other business is open at all. Every Mom & Pop shop has a handwritten sign on the closed front door telling you whether they will be closed two, three or four weeks. You really should call before you lug that printer across town to be repaired.

Production concentrated towns and regions have industrial shut down. For some production line employees, four of their five weeks of mandated holiday will be spent the month the factory is closed in July. That still leaves a week for either the sports holiday or Easter break.

So now back to the strategy of invading Sweden. Plan the invasion for a sunny day July. Any time would work, but just after the evening meal might work particularly well. The end of the day is most often winds down corking a bottle of wine or cracking open a beer.

Whatever you do, avoid a naval attack. The armada of sailboats and other recreational ships are so complete it would be difficult to reach the coast before a few thousand mobile phones call, send a text or picture or even a live streaming feed.

It wouldn't be unimaginable that with the laptops booted and a Bluetooth connection to a mobile phone equipped with GPS, Swedes as young as toddlers could coordinate a counter offensive.

Your best bet is to drive in at just above the speed limit on the highways in Volvos packed full of gear.

Elizabeth Dacey

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